Another good day at the office for West Indies Men & Women
Fletcher leads West Indies to a big Win
The stands were almost full, and fans, many of them in knockoff West Indies team jerseys, were in fine form at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Sunday (March 20) in the hope of ‘local boy’ Chris Gayle putting on a big show for them. ‘Welcome home, Gayle’ said more than one banner, and the ‘We want Gayle’ chorus went up again and again. But it wasn’t to be.
First, Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to field, and then Gayle walked off the field after 11 overs of the Sri Lanka innings with a left hamstring twinge – and therefore couldn’t come out to bat at the start.
Gayle’s absence from the batting lineup didn’t make a massive difference to the way the game went though.
Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn and Dwayne Bravo first conspired to hold Sri Lanka down to 122 for 9 and Andre Fletcher then played an excellent knock to give West Indies a seven-wicket win in its World Twenty20 Super 10 Group 1 match, as the target was breached with ten balls to spare. Sri Lanka, despite a brilliant fightback from a three-pronged spin attack, just didn’t have enough runs on the board to change the flow of the match.
The West Indian chase was chiefly about Fletcher, who replaced Jerome Taylor in the XI and Gayle at the top of the order. Fletcher took Angelo Mathews for a four and a six in a 13-run first over, and didn’t look back after that. He struggled a bit against the spinners, mainly Jeffrey Vandersay, but went along, punctuating ones and twos with the occasional biggie, even as Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin fell around him.
If anything, Fletcher did quite an impressive impersonation of Gayle. When Ramdin fell to Milinda Siriwardena to be bowled, Gayle appeared ready to walk out, much to the joy of the crowd. Not yet, said the officials, with Gayle being told he had to wait for 11 minutes or two more wickets to fall before he could walk in. So Gayle had to go back, and Fletcher compensated by smashing the first two deliveries of the 15th over, bowled by Siriwardena, for big sixes down the ground. Soon after, he was caught on the bounce by Dinesh Chandimal behind the stumps off Dushmantha Chameera – the crowd have him out, Gayle looked ready to walk in, but Fletcher was reprieved after the third umpire ruled that the ball had bounced before reaching Chandimal. Fletcher was batting on 71 off 50 balls then.
Vandersay, Lasith Malinga’s replacement in the squad, was the best of the Sri Lankan bowlers, tying up the batsmen in his web of legspinners and wrong ones. But the team needed at least four more of his overs to make a serious dent. That wasn't an option, of course, and West Indies carried on, and Fletcher remained in the lead. He finished on 84 from 64 balls with six fours and five muscular sixes, while Andre Russell rushed the end, smashing three fours and a six – to finish the game – in his eight-ball 20.
West Indies Women Beat Bangladesh
Skipper Stefanie Taylor and Hayley Matthews starred with both bat and ball as the West Indies brushed aside Bangladesh by 49 runs in a Group B match of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Chennai on Sunday.
In a Group A match in Mohali, Sri Lanka defeated Ireland by 14 runs to record its first win in the tournament. Both teams had lost to New Zealand in their opening games.
Taylor scored 40 and Matthews made 41, sharing an opening stand of 67, as the West Indies hit up 148 for four after electing to take first strike.
Taylor then picked up three for 13, supported by two wickets each from Matthews and Deandra Dottin, as Bangladesh were shot out for 99. Nigar Sultana top-scored with 27.
The West Indies climbed to the top of Group B with its second consecutive win, having defeated Pakistan by four runs in the first match.
Bangladesh suffered its third successive loss in the tournament, knocking the South Asian nation out of the race for the semi-finals. It was Bangladesh's 21st defeat in 23 T20 internationals.
"We batted deep in the innings and it was nice of Hayley and me to get a good opening stand that helped us put up a decent total on the board," said Taylor.
"We still need to work on our fielding, it is not one of the best. But I am happy the way we bowled and put Bangladesh under pressure."
The West Indies next plays strong contender England in Dharamsala on Thursday, a match that could determine the winner of the group that also includes India and Pakistan.
Bangladesh captain Jahanara Alam was distraught after the defeat.
"We all are very upset at losing three games in a row and I am very worried about our bowling and fielding standards," she said. "I can't understand what is going wrong. We are making too many mistakes.
"Hopefully we will do better in our last game." Bangladesh play Pakistan in New Delhi on Thursday.